Archives and Records Management Resources

the next glossary, produced by the then National Archives and Records provider in 1984 for today’s Archives Reader: Basic Readings on Archival Theory and Practice, is supplied about this internet site being a help to persons not really acquainted with common archival terms. These definitions aren’t legitimately binding and don’t express NARA policy. The updated and much more comprehensive A Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers, published by Lewis J. Bellardo and Lynn Lady Bellardo, ended up being posted in 1992 and may even be bought through the community of American Archivists.

Archival terminology is really a group that is flexible of terms which have obtained specialized definitions for archivists. Since World War II, archivists global have actually dedicated attention that is considerable the meaning among these terms. In 1964, a international lexicon of archival terminology had been posted. (1) This dictionary in 6 languages, the task of a committee regarding the Overseas Council on Archives, supplies a foundation for worldwide contrast of archival terms.

The community of American Archivists published its very own glossary of archival terms in 1974 after a long period of debate, drafting, and review. (2) Definitions within the SAA glossary have now been commonly accepted once the foundation for conversation of archival terminology in the united states and also been the point that is starting subsequent efforts to define American archival terms. Since book of this SAA glossary, nonetheless, numerous archivists have actually determined that a few of its definitions need modification and that additional terms should always be included. Instructors of archives management and writers of fundamental archival texts, consequently, are suffering from their very own glossaries that revise, change, or expand the 1974 work. At the moment, no glossary that is single of terms can be viewed as definitive. (3)

Probably the most commonly used archival terms are the ones that describe documentary materials and archival organizations. Documentary materials is characterized as “records,” “personal papers,” or “artificial collections” on such basis as whom created and maintained the papers and for exactly exactly what function. (4) Records are papers in virtually any kind being made or received and maintained by a company, whether federal federal government agency, church, company, college, or any other organization. A business’s documents typically might consist of copies of letters, memoranda, reports, reports, photographs, along with other materials generated by the business in addition to incoming letters, reports received, memoranda off their offices, along with other papers maintained within the company’s files.

As opposed to documents, individual documents are made or gotten and maintained by a person or household along the way of residing. Diaries, news clippings, individual records that are financial photographs, communication received, and copies of letters written and delivered because of the person or family members are on the list of materials typically present individual documents.

Typically, records and individual documents are considered distinct entities, each with plainly characteristics that are definable. The physical qualities of records and personal papers have become more alike, however, and archivists increasingly have emphasized the similarities between these materials rather than their differences in the twentieth century. (5) In specific, today’s archivists notice that both documents and papers that are personal figures of interrelated materials which have been brought together because of their function or use. Archivists respect and look for to keep the relationships that are established individual things in categories of documents plus in individual documents. (6)

Synthetic collections are basically various both from documents and from individual documents. In the place of being accumulations that are natural synthetic collections are comprised of singular items purposefully put together from many different sources. Because synthetic collections comprise papers from numerous sources, archivists may elect to improve founded relationships to be able to enhance access or control.

Archival organizations can be termed either “archives” or “manuscript repositories” based on the kinds of documentary material they have and exactly how it really is obtained. “Archives” traditionally have already been those organizations accountable for the long-lasting care of the historic documents associated with the company or organization of that they are a component. (7) numerous archives are general public organizations accountable for the documents of continuing worth of a federal federal government or government human body. The National Archives associated with united states of america and also the Public Archives of Canada are samples of general public archives during the nationwide level. Public archives additionally can be bought at almost every other amount of federal federal government, including state or province, county, and municipal amounts. Nonpublic or nongovernmental archives worry for the documents of any other institution or company of that they are a component. Church archives, for instance, administer the historic documents of the denomination that is religious congregation. University archives have the effect of documents regarding the college’s management. Archives get historical product through the action of legislation or through interior regulation that is institutional policy.

“Manuscript repositories” are archival organizations primarily in charge of individual documents, synthetic collections, and documents of other companies. Manuscript repositories purchase or seek contributions of materials to that they do not have necessary right. They consequently must report the transfer of materials by deed of present or by other contract that is legal.

The distinctions between archives and manuscript repositories may be precisely stated, yet few archival institutions are merely “archives” or “manuscript repositories.” Most archives hold some papers that are personal documents of other businesses. Perhaps the National Archives of this united states of america accounts for a group that is small of individual documents and nongovernment records. Similarly, numerous manuscript repositories act as the archives of the very own organizations. In recognition of the, the word “archives” gradually has obtained wider meaning for many archivists and it is utilized by them in mention of any archival institution. This trend happens to be accelerated by way of your message “archives” or “archive” into the names of some organizations that in past times may have been termed “manuscript repositories.” (8)

Modern archival terminology provides a of good use and necessary method of specialized communication inside the archival profession. Its terms could be accurate adequate to protect crucial distinctions among forms of materials and archival organizations, yet its usage may also be adequately versatile to mirror the changing nature of record materials and developments into the administration of archival organizations. Whilst the archival career grows and matures and also as new technologies and documents news impact the training of archives administration, both the accuracy and freedom of archival terminology will show to be of continuing advantage to archivists.


This glossary of widely used terms that are archival located in component on and draws a few definitions from “A Basic Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers,” published by Frank B. Evans, Donald F. Harrison, and Edwin A. Thompson (The United states Archivist 37 July 1974: 415-433). The glossary includes many archival that is important easy informative speech topics with specific definitions. Terms which are adequately described in dictionaries; technical manuscript, records administration, and preservation terms; and terms associated with automatic information processing aren’t included.

ACCESS The archival term for authority to acquire information from or even perform research in archival materials.

ACCESSION (v.) To move real and legal custody of documentary materials to an institution that is archival. (letter.) Materials used in an archival institution in a solitary accessioning action.

ACCRETION An addition to an accession.

PURCHASE The process of determining and acquiring, by contribution or purchase, historic materials from sources outside the archival organization.

ADMINISTRATIVE VALUE the worthiness of documents when it comes to business that is ongoing of agency of documents creation or its successor in function.

APPRAISAL The process of determining whether documentary materials have actually adequate value to warrant purchase by the archival institution.

ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION an organization keeping appropriate and real custody of noncurrent documentary materials determined to have permanent or continuing value. Archives and manuscript repositories are archival institutions.

ARCHIVAL VALUE the worthiness of documentary materials for continuing conservation in a archival institution.

ARCHIVES (1) The noncurrent documents of an company or organization preserved for their continuing value. (2) The agency accountable for choosing, preserving, and making available documents determined to possess permanent or value that is continuing. (3) The building for which an archival organization is based.

ARCHIVES MANAGEMENT The management that is professional of archival organization through application of archival concepts and methods.

ARCHIVIST The professional employee in a archival organization responsible for any aspect of the selection, preservation, or utilization of archival materials.

ARRANGEMENT The process that is archival of documentary materials according to archival concepts.

GATHERING POLICY A policy founded by the archival institution concerning subject areas, cycles, and platforms of materials to find for contribution or purchase.

COLLECTION (1) a synthetic accumulation of materials dedicated to a solitary theme, individual, occasion, or variety of document obtained from a number of sources. (2) In a manuscript repository, a human body of historic materials concerning an individual, household, or company.

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT The process to build an institution’s holdings of historic materials through purchase tasks.

CONTINUOUS CUSTODY (1) In contemporary U.S. usage, the archival principle that to ensure archival integrity, archival materials should either be retained by the producing organization or transferred straight to an institution that is archival. (2) In Uk use, the principle that noncurrent documents needs to be retained because of the producing company or its successor in function to be viewed archival.

CUBIC FEET (or METERS) a measure that is standard of amount of archival materials in line with the amount of area they occupy.

DEED OF PRESENT a document that is legal contribution of documentary materials to an archival organization through transfer of name.

DEPOSIT CONTRACT A legal document supplying for deposit of historic materials in real custody of an archival organization while legal name towards the materials is retained by the donor.

DESCRIPTION the entire process of establishing control that is intellectual holdings of an archival organization through planning of finding aids.

DISPOSITION The final action that sets into impact the outcome of a assessment choice for a number of documents. Transfer to an archival organization, transfer to a documents center, and destruction are among feasible dispositions.

DISPOSITION SCHEDULE guidelines retention that is governing disposition of present and noncurrent recurring documents variety of a company or agency. Also known as a RECORDS CONTROL SCHEDULE.

REPORT Recorded information irrespective of kind or medium with three elements that are basic base, impression, and message.

DONATED HISTORICAL MATERIALS historic materials moved to an archival organization through a donor’s gift in place of in accordance with legislation or legislation.

EVIDENTIAL VALUE the worthiness of documents or papers as documents associated with the operations and tasks associated with organization that is records-creating organization, or specific.

FIELD PERFORM The activity of distinguishing, negotiating for, and securing historic materials for the institution that is archival.

CHOOSING AID A description from any source that delivers details about the articles and nature of documentary materials.

HOLDINGS All documentary materials in the custody of an archival organization including both accessioned and deposited materials.

INFORMATIONAL VALUE the worth of documents or documents for information they have on people, places, topics, and things except that the procedure associated with the company that created them or even the activities of this family or individual that created them.

INTRINSIC VALUE The archival term for those characteristics and faculties of completely valuable documents which make the documents within their original real form the actual only real archivally acceptable form of this documents.

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